Tag Archives: Dr Phil

Don’t pick the broken one

I’ve written about an issue of mine dating back to childhood, related to what I deserve, or more pointedly what I believe I deserve.  I’ve gotten into this before, as I say, and I’m not going to totally rehash it now but the gist of it is I’ve been really thinking hard for many years about this issue – what do I deserve – and trying to correct its negative effects in my life.

I have not always thought I deserved a lot, or even much at all, in several areas of my life. It’s not a happy thing to discover this about one’s self let alone admit it, but as with other topics, I’m more inclined to share AFTER I’ve figured a bunch of stuff out. I need to process things alone.

In a book by Dr. Phil McGraw, aka Dr. Phil, whose title I don’t remember but would find if anyone is desperate to know it, he writes about choosing someone to be in your life, and says words to the effect that the first rule of choosing anything is don’t pick the broken one. That’s obvious right? Most of us would understand that as a reasonable truism. But the reality is, especially for women, that a lot of us DO pick the broken one, especially when it comes to choosing a person to be in our life.

Until I read it put that way, so directly with no namby-pambying around, I would never have thought about it in such hard terms. Lots and lots of people are broken in some way. Many women don’t think they deserve better and/or think they’re going to fix the broken person. Haha! I am in a position to scoff, having finally learned that no one “fixes” another adult. Love is NOT a cureall. Certainly not for major personality or character disorders in other people.😐

Let’s shift gears and look at this another way. The (semi) autobiographical movie, The Homecoming ( pre-cursor to the TV show The Waltons), Earl Hamner’s tale set at Christmas in depression-era rural Virginia, features a scene that had an impact on me. The many kids in the big family have gone to a church where missionaries are giving out presents. The youngest girl is delighted to get a gift, a wrapped baby doll. However, the doll’s face has a big crack in it, and the kids are disgusted and leave, dropping the doll on the ground as they do so. See, in the same position I would not have abandoned that doll. Oh no. I would have taken it home and kept it. Maybe I would have tried to use glue or tape to fix the crack. Whatever. It would not have occurred to me to throw it away nor would I have thought I was allowed to toss it out. A doll is a doll I would have thought, a gift a gift, even it’s a bit messed up.😕

I have a long history of trying to “make things work” no matter how shabby or defunct or defective or pitiful. I know where this comes from and the more important thing now, at this point in life, is simply recognizing it. Nobody but me will ever set the standard for what I deserve, for what is good enough and what is not, be it in things or situations or in people.

For instance when I meet someone now, man or woman, and they seem a bit messed up? I can be civil, even somewhat friendly, but there is no welcome mat into my larger life. You got yourself “a little drinking problem”? You lose your temper on a regular basis? You lie or obscure the truth? You have lots of legal troubles? Not for me.

I shop regularly on Amazon for many things and it’s really in the last couple years that I’ve gotten more into it. It may seem odd but it’s actually the impetus for this post. Now with the pandemic it’s been all the more important since I’m staying out of stores. Anyway, Amazon has been a training ground for me in terms of forcing me to confront what I think I deserve. I regularly send things back or ask for a refund for anything substandard. The “old me” wouldn’t have or not nearly as much. I would have “made it work” or settled for less than I expected. And this is a little embarassing, but I’d have done that so I didn’t bother them.😢 Or annoy them. Yep bother or annoy AMAZON. Sad but true. However, each time they sent me crap, crap I considered keeping, I gave myself a little talk. Would you select this pair of shoes that are scuffed up if you saw them on a shelf? Would you take this browning head of lettuce home from a grocery store? Would you be willing to re-glue a brand new pair of earrings? Why should you do any of these things and many others? (Note that as someone who routinely finds stuff others have cast off & takes them home to fix up, I’m not talking about that at all, which I do willingly and enjoy.)

I have felt like I’ve been tested. Tested & tested. You may have heard the idea that anytime you make an important or momentous decision about implementing a change, the universe will test you to see if you mean it. I do think I’ve had many opportunities to examine and investigate what I deserve in a variety of scenarios, perhaps a few more than was called for! Still, until it’s not even something I (have to) think about, I expect I’ll be challenged. IT HAS GOTTEN EASIER. Which tells me real progress has been made.

We have met the enemy and it is squalor

I am ok. You?

When you spend a lot of time at home (especially in multi-person households) it is easy to let everything go to hell. You have to figure things get grubbier than usual. The only other experience that compares for me is getting cooped up during a major snow storm but it’s a lukewarm comparison. I am keeping up. The stuff I’m avoiding: Stacked dishes in the sink, a funky ambience in the bathroom, piles of papers gathering, overflowing trashcans, unmade beds, loads of unwashed laundry. Living in squalor would just make it all worse.😐

I consider myself fortunate, well, in a number of ways, but in no small part because HOME is pretty much my favorite place. I absolutely love being outdoors in nature (and need to be) but I don’t want to live there. Being at home isn’t a huge change for me. Over the years, particularly during the time I’ve had this blog, I have really worked to make Home a good place to be.

It happened that my everyday food stockpiling coincided with the quarantining/pandemic. By happenstance I bought a lot of food in January and February. But for that I’d be a lot more anxious. Last March I blogged What does Colette eat? , a list of all the food I had on-hand. Why? I made the list for myself, in part so I could keep track of what I needed to buy at any given time but shared it because I thought it might be interesting or helpful. Last week I made a new list. It”s handwritten and not blog-ready but it is very similar.

I’m not a big fan of groups in the best of times (generally preferring the company of one other person at a time) so there again I am not struggling greatly but my connection to people, to humanity, is writ large. I feel very connected to other people; to other bloggers, to people across the U.S., to people around the world. Never have I felt in my decades, such a sense that to some degree or another, we are all experiencing the same thing. I am also thinking about all the people I’ve known and cared about. This doesn’t mean I want to “reach out” or anything like that; it’s just thinking and remembering.

I really feel for people in worse circumstances. I am impressed by all those whose jobs put them at risk. I’m sure they are frightened but still they continue their work. It was a small thing but I put a hand-written THANK YOU on the door when trash & recycling collectors came on their regular schedule. Think of how it would be if people weren’t still filling these and other roles (of many stripes) either out of sickness or fear.

The people who were nice before are still being nice and the people who were jerks are still being jerks.

I saw on on TV that people were putting up Christmas lights to cheer up their neighborhoods which I thought was charming (I guess so long as it doesn’t tax the power grid 😢). I put lights out too.

On a community Facebook group someone posted about putting teddy bears in the window for children to see (I don’t know if that’s everywhere). I don’t have a teddy bear (just two small stuffed animals whose fur might suffer from condensation 😯) so I collected a few friends to display. (My boy Gumby was previously seen here demonstrating tricks I do at the playground.)



At times I tear up watching the news. The news about the postponed Olympics made me cry outright. Not because I think that’s worse than thousands dead and sickened but maybe because it shows just how big this is combined with a long-standing emotional response to the Games – I’m not sure.  When emotions are running high it’s hard to know what will trip them, even obscure or seemingly unrelated things. Anyone who’s gone through raw grief will likely recognize that phenomena as true.

My father’s parents (long dead) were from northern Italy and came to the U.S. as young adults, only to later return to Italy with their first four children, including my father, only to again come to the U.S. but despite being half-Italian, I claim no true connection to the region, which has been so hard hit by the virus. I honestly don’t know how to think about it. There is this: you keep hearing about all these old people dying (in Italy and elsewhere) and there can be a tendency to think, well, they’re OLD. But old people have had plenty of time to touch many lives, they probably have friends, children, grandchildren, maybe great grandchildren. They leave behind people who will mourn them, who wouldn’t want a demise like this virus for them but a peaceful, family-gathered, or “quietly dying in their sleep” end. I relate from that view.

Is it weird or what to see VP Pence looking and acting more presidential than the president?!

I take comfort from certain leaders and certain people in the public eye. I have been surprised that TMZ is striking the right note for me, a mix of information, genuine emotion, humor and even a little dishing.  I enjoy Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest together. Before this I didn’t habitually watch their morning show, Live With Kelly and Ryan, and had very little interest in their interviews but liked the first ten or so minutes of the show where they banter and share news, personal and otherwise, when I happened to catch it. Now that they are respectively self-quaranteened and doing the show, I find them and the show very relatable, including the celebrity interviews. Maybe it’s because I believe the affection between them? I find the Dr Phil show very formulaic (and pandering to ratings with its content ) and usually avoid it but the man himself has been compelling since I first saw him long ago. He says things that help me, going way back. I still have notes I took after Sep 11, 2001 about the suggestions and advice he had for people on how to cope. Anyway, he’s gone to a podcast style of his daily TV show and I expect to watch. He makes sense and has a crackerjack mind.

It is always so interesting who comes into the spotlight at crisis points. That Dr Fauci is rocking it. So are some governors including mine. Regular people online make a big difference too if only to distract us with humor. I am grateful to all.

I am here on the blog to distract myself in part, and hopefully to offer a little distraction. If all goes well I expect to be blogging more. I think it’ll help me. I want the connection. I think I will write about the typical topics I do, deliberately. I don’t want to focus only on the virus and its effects. I hope that is okay.

We are requested to stay home where I am but not yet ordered to.  My work has little contact with people and I can stay 6′ away so I can work some which is good on several fronts. The numbers of infection are still rising. I just don’t want to get sick but I felt that before. All winter I was working to not get the flu.

I would say I have a low grade level of agitation.

People are cooking & baking at home, they say. I was already doing that and am just trying to keep up good habits. Even so, I crave foods I wasn’t going to be having anyway, whether because they are too expensive – a huge plate of steamed shellfish – or not a usual thing I let myself eat – bags of chips and candy.😐

There are not bombs falling on my community or soldiers in the streets.  It IS scary but not the scariest, not at all. Perspective. Isn’t that what everything, always, is about?

There wll be scholars writing about this time for years to come. There will be crackpots ranting. There will be movies. It will be taught or mentioned in school curriculums. The worldwide pandemic of 2020.

Remember a few weeks ago? The impeachment, Harry and Meghan, the Australian wildfires? I haven’t heard a peep about any of them. Gone. (Although the absurd Kanye/Kim/Taylor thing got renewed steam in the last day or so. Way to rise to the occasion!😕)

I feel badly for the kids missing proms and graduations – I remember what a big deal everything associated with school and my friends was to me when I was in their place – and love that some jurisdictions promise to do these events for them later.

I can’t imagine what it must be like to have real problems or concerns now that are in addition to the pandemic fears, people with cancer or advanced stages of diseases.  They have to fear/wonder if they will still get the treatment and medications they need and if they will contract the virus further compromising their original illnesses.

Illness and disease have been wiping out populations for a very long time. I think that we’re taken aback that it can still happen independent of how prosperous or technologically advanced a society is. Money and advances will help but they can’t prevent every bad bit of business that comes along. We grow so accustomed to our structures and routines in western countries, so assured in our worlds. Events like weather and pandemics are equal opportunity.